Gerald voters decided several issues

Linda Trest

Gerald voters elected three new aldermen and decided three tax questions in Tuesday’s municipal election.

In Ward 1, two candidates faced off for an open seat. Scott Long handily beat his opponent Brad Landwehr with 71 votes to Landwehr’s 38. There were 114 votes cast with five voters choosing to write in a name for this race.

In Ward 2 it was a wide open race, with no one filing for either of the two open seats. Voters had to resort to write-in candidates to fill both a two-year and a one-year term. There were 24 write-in votes cast for the one-year term and 30 write-ins for the two-year. Ed Adams was the winner in both write in contests getting eight votes for the one-year seat and 11 for the two-year term. Keith Wehmeyer received three votes in both spots and Jason Risse also garnered three votes in one of the races. 

Proposition P passed 10,213 to 4,439. Prop P asked voters to approve a county-wide one-half percent increase in sales tax. It is estimated that $6 million will be generated for law enforcement across the county. Half of that money will be spent bringing the Franklin County Adult Detention Center up to legal requirements. The other $3 million would be split among the Sheriff’s Office and municipal police departments. 

Gerald Police Chief Jim Helton estimates around $60,000 would come to his department annually.

Question 1 on the ballot asked Gerald voters if they would like to continue to collect sales tax on vehicles purchased out of state by residents. The tax would also apply to trailers, boats and outboard motors.

Voters decided to keep the tax in place by a margin of 116 votes for the tax and 73 votes to repeal the tax. The city would have lost an estimated $11,000 if the tax had been repealed.

Question 2 polled voters for their preference in collecting a use tax or not. A use tax would apply when an out-of-state vendor would make a sale to a Gerald resident. The city currently does not receive use tax revenues. Voters defeated the new tax proposal 125 to 62. It is estimated the use tax would have brought in an additional $10,800 to the city’s coffers.

With the passage of all three tax measures, the city can expect an additional $70,800 and can retain another $11,000.